The BCCI has taken it upon itself to not send either a men's or women's team for the 2010 Asian Games to be held in Guangzhou from November 12 to 27. This is the official line from the board:
"We would not be able to send our team, both men and women, for the Asian Games in China because of international commitments," the BCCI chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty said in Mumbai. "We have communicated the same to the Indian Olympic Association."
The news of India not sending a team to the Asian Games came out last night. Yet, none of the TV channels have picked up on it. Come the Asian Games they'll lament the lack of gold medals. Wonder what's stopping them from taking up this issue before the games.
Right. We're hosting New Zealand for a full series in November. The Kiwis haven't toured India since 2003 so it's quite right for the BCCI to not scrap a series against them. Not like they can, they haven't hosted New Zealand for this FTP cycle. I checked the upcoming fixtures for India and New Zealand and as of now there is nothing scheduled for players of either team from September until the 2011 World Cup. It's probably because the itinerary for these teams hasn't been finalised. We know India are playing Australia right after the Champions League and will tour South Africa after the home series against New Zealand. Also, the Kiwis are touring Bangladesh for two tests and three ODIs. This only leaves the month of November for the series against the Kiwis. But why exactly are we playing Australia again? We've already hosted them for two ODI series and a test series during this FTP cycle. It's just an arrangement between the two boards whereby they'll flog this rivalry till nobody is interested. Bit like the scores of ODIs we've played against Sri Lanka since 2008. Even New Zealand toured Bangladesh in October 2008, so why are they touring the country again this year?
Does it really make any sense to be playing some teams way more often that required? Not really. But this is what you get when boards are only looking after their own interests, not that the BCCI is the only guilty party here. The people won't care, they get to see their players frequently. It's not like there's much else to watch on television anyway.
This is just about the men's team. What about the women? Considering their performance at the world stage they should be a shoo-in for the gold at the Asian Games. Again, I'm not aware of the ladies being tied up in a series during the Asian Games.
The board continues to enjoy huge tax exemptions from the central and state governments, has control of stadia at dirt cheap rates and is provided free security from state police. It's quite obvious this shouldn't be happening, more so now that the BCCI has refused to send its players to the Asian Games. But how can this change when you have so many politicians involved with the BCCI?
And what about the players? We hear them talk about how much pride they feel in playing for their country. Why hasn't a single cricketer - current of former - come out and said the BCCI should be sending its players to Guangzhou? Surely this will increase the suspicion on them for taking performance enhancing substances. First they refused to accept the controversial whereabouts clause and now they've been silent over their non-participation at an event that is likely to be the subject of a lot of testing.